House waiting to vote on infrastructure and Build Back Better bills

FAN Editor

The House is poised to vote as early as Friday afternoon on both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the social spending bill that together make up the bulk of President Biden’s domestic agenda. On Friday, the president urged Congress to vote straight away.

“I’m asking every member of the House of Representatives to vote yes on both these bills right now,” he said. 

Both pieces of legislation are likely to pass in the House, since Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not generally call votes until she’s confident a bill has enough votes to pass. Democratic leadership hopes to have final votes later Friday afternoon. But Republicans began the morning after the House gaveled in at 8 a.m. by calling to adjourn for the day, and forcing the House to take a vote. GOP lawmakers are expected to slow things down by calling for procedural votes throughout the day.    

No House Republicans are expected to vote for the Build Back Better Act, but it’s not clear whether there will be bipartisan support in the House for the infrastructure bill. Nineteen Republicans in the Senate joined Democrats to vote for the legislation in August. 

If the House passes the Build Back Better Act, which would broaden the social safety net and combat climate change, it’s not clear yet what its fate will be in the Senate. This week, the House restored paid family and medical leave, a proposal that was in the original framework but was removed under pressure by key Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. While he says he supports paid leave, he doesn’t think it belongs in a bill that will be passed through reconciliation with only Democratic votes, as Build Back Better will be. 

Manchin has also demanded to see further details about how the social spending bill will affect the debt and inflation before supporting it. His other criticism of the legislation is that it contains 10 years of revenues but in some cases is funding programs that will end in one to six years — “that’s not the true cost,” he told MSNBC Thursday.

The reappearance of paid leave is not the only major addition to the bill. The latest version also increases the cap on the deduction of state and local taxes (known as SALT) from $10,000 to $72,500 (or $36,250 in the case of an estate, trust or married individual filing a separate return), and extends the higher cap through 2031, instead of 2025. Another provision of the bill would allow undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. prior to January 1, 2011 to apply for a legal classification known as “parole,” which would shield them from deportation and grant them work permits. 

The votes for both bills come on the heels of a sobering loss for Democrats in Virginia, when Republican Glenn Youngkin prevailed in the governor’s race in a state Mr. Biden won by 10 points just a year ago. Democrats also came close to losing the governorship in heavily Democratic New Jersey. 

This is a developing story and will be updated.

John Nolen and Camilo Montoya Galvez contributed to this report. 

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